Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Bleak Aftermath of the Government Shutdown

Today's guest post was written by my esteemed colleague, Paige Watts.

So, the topic on everyone’s mind today—the government shutdown last night. I’ve been keeping tabs all day on the updates, so rest assured you’re getting 100% fact-checked information here.

Alright, everyone unbunch your panties. I’m here to inform you that you are not as affected by this as you think you are. Unless you are my dad, who is employed by the United States Post Office. Which means he is actually not affected at all because the post office gets their money from the good people of America who buy stamps. Or something like that. (I never brought him in for that day in kindergarten where your parent explains to the class what their job is. As a result I don’t really know.)

 America’s collective expression when the shutdown occurred.

So here are the most important things you need to know about the government shutdown:

1. All federal prisons will remain open.
Did they think they could just be like, “RELEASE THE PRISONERS!” and we’d all be okay with that? It’d be like the movie, The Purge, where everyone is allowed to commit crime on that one day a year, and there’d be bombs and car fires and people screaming all willy-nilly, and cows (I live in Wisconsin, people) running down the street. (Side note: I didn’t actually watch this movie. Just the trailer, like 20 times.)

2. There are going to be a huge number of furloughs for federal employees.
Firstly, I asked myself, what the hell is a furlough? Some kind of pine tree? They’re planting pine trees after the government shutdown, like they don’t have a care in the world? Super insensitive, you guys. Then Google told me it means unpaid leave. So then I wondered, does this mean no street-cleaning tomorrow? Is there going to be day-old dog poop on my sidewalk or no?!  CAN I WEAR MY GOOD WORK SHOES?!

And I can tell you guys with confidence that I do not know the answer to this. Is street-cleaning considered essential? I don’t know...maybe. If there’s a banana peel on the sidewalk, I think it’s pretty essential to get that picked up before someone busts their shit on it...but does the government agree with me? I’d ask, but they’re shut down. Maybe there's a hotline to call. There totally should be a hotline to call.

3. The panda cam at The National Zoo will be turned off.
Alright. Now this I have a problem with. They shut down our government, scare the bejeezus out of everyone by acting like today is Doomsday, and then they take away the one, happy, bright spot of my mornings...watching pandas roll around together and eat bamboo and throw poop at the cameras. Okay, so I’ve never watched the panda cam, and I think monkeys are the ones who throw poop, but still. I’d like to have the option of watching “carnivores” cuddling with each other while I’m searching for ways to avoid my real work.

4. All national parks will close their doors.
Well national parks don’t have “doors,” so they’re closing off all entrances. Or planting a bunch of bushy pine trees (furloughs?) at the boundary line so it’s just too thick for crazy hippies to break through and go gallivanting across national park land. Also, if you are currently camping in a national park then you must kindly pack up your belongings and get the hell out of Dodge within 48 hours.

And now this makes me wonder...if there is no one in Yellowstone Park when the geyser Old Faithful starts blowing its top, does it still actually blow its top?!? We’ll never know. If elks could talk, I would ask them. Or the squatters. There are SO going to be squatters on national park land until this shutdown gets taken care of. And they’ll probably be all rabid and beardy by the time the rangers get back on park patrol.

Wait, I’ve just read that people are actually just walking around the caution tape that has been put up at national monuments and such. Real anti-climactic. They could at least rip their shirts off and run screaming through the tape instead of just under it. Give us some drama, people!

5. NASA will keep just enough people at Mission Control to support the 6 people at the International Space Station. In space.
Personally, I think it would be a real treat to call those people up and be like “Sorry you guys, we’re abandoning ship down here, good luck!!” but then keep the cameras rolling and just watch everyone lose their shit at the space station and start turning to cannabalism. But right before someone actually gets eaten we’ll be like “HAHA you guys JK! You were actually on The Truman Show the whole time!” and everyone would just laugh and hug and eat astronaut ice cream because they are so happy they weren’t abandoned in outer space for real.

So for now, those are the updates. Stay tuned.


  1. Except that I work for NASA, so I am pretty affected. Personally, our project is funded so we are more or less able to keep working for now, but I know many, many people that are using up precious PTO time right now, and when that is used up, who knows. Just sayin'.

    1. Yeah, good points. This was definitely not meant to be an actually comprehensive list of changes, but rather making light of the situation. And the government is being ridiculous right now, and you know how much I love pointing out ridiculousness here! But you're correct, there are many unfortunate consequences to the government shutdown, and we didn't list them here because they're no laughing matter!

    2. Sorry to be a spoilsport - tensions are running high round these parts. We need to laugh, too!

  2. I love the government shut down, I actually get a seat on the Metro during rush hour! In all seriousness, I do hope this mess gets cleaned up soon, but I'm not complaining about the extra space on public transportation.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.